The Criterion Channel’s February 2024 Lineup

On the Channel

Jan 29, 2024

The Criterion Channel’s February 2024 Lineup
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

The Criterion Channel’s February 2024 Lineup

On the Channel

Jan 29, 2024

This February, get ready for Valentine’s Day with a collection of otherworldly love stories that exceed the limits of time and space. Celebrate Black History Month with a selection of films exploring African American history, as well as a look at the Black roots of electronic dance music. Paint the town pink with Barbie mastermind Greta Gerwig as she sits down for our latest Adventures in Moviegoing conversation, or turn the lights down for an eerie marathon of gothic noir classics. There’s so much more to choose from, including a bundle of Hong Kong favorites, unsettling visions from The Zone of Interest director Jonathan Glazer, and a landmark restoration of the long-unavailable Farewell My Concubine.

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* indicates programming available only in the U.S.

TOP STORIES

Interdimensional Romance

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The limits of our universe are no match for true love in these transcendent romances, in which passion conquers time and space, age and memory, and even death and the afterlife. Sprung from the dazzling imaginations of directors like Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger (A Matter of Life and Death), Alain Resnais (Je t’aime, je t’aime), John Carpenter (Starman), Hirokazu Kore-eda (After Life), and Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), these rapturous, philosophically rich tales of love beyond the bounds of mortal existence ponder the limitless possibilities of soulful, star-crossed connection.

FEATURING: Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941), Heaven Can Wait (1943), A Matter of Life and Death (1946), The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947), Je t’aime, je t’aime (1968), Solaris (1972), Love unto Death (1984), Starman (1984), Made in Heaven (1987), Rouge (1987), Wings of Desire (1987), Defending Your Life (1991), After Life (1998), Waking the Dead (2000), Solaris (2002), Code 46 (2003), Birth (2004), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)*, It’s All About Love (2003)*, Youth Without Youth (2007), Your Name. (2016)

Greta Gerwig’s Adventures in Moviegoing

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From indie darling to helmer of 2023’s biggest (and pinkest) blockbuster, Greta Gerwig has blazed a unique trail by remaining true to her idiosyncratic voice—forged by a lifelong passion for literature, theater, and dance—at every step of her evolution. In this edition of Adventures in Moviegoing, the Barbie director sits down with Criterion president Peter Becker to discuss her formative love of classic MGM musicals, the first director’s filmography she ever binge-watched, and the rare movie she considers “perfect.” The films she has chosen to present reflect her interests in acting and innovative performers like Toshiro Mifune (Yojimbo) and David Thewlis (Naked) and in auteurs like Max Ophuls (The Earrings of Madame de . . .) and Claire Denis (Beau travail) for whom camerawork is a kind of choreography.

FEATURING: Brief Encounter (1945), The Red Shoes (1948), The Earrings of Madame de . . . (1953), Yojimbo (1961), Amarcord (1973), Where Is the Friend’s House? (1987), Naked (1993), Beau travail (1999)

Gothic Noir

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Amid Hollywood’s postwar noir boom arose a moody microgenre that drew on the trappings of gothic literature: eerie, remote locations; dark secrets lurking in mysterious houses; heroines caught up in sinister circumstances beyond their control. In these films, women must keep their wits about them as they navigate shadowy worlds in which no one can be trusted and those closest to them—husbands and lovers, in particular—concoct elaborate plots to drive them mad, murder them, or implicate them in a crime. Featuring standout performances from actors like Joan Fontaine (Kiss the Blood off My Hands), Lucille Ball (Lured), Nina Foch (My Name Is Julia Ross), and Ida Lupino (Woman in Hiding), these stylized tales of existential menace see their protagonists fight to escape webs of treachery and deceit.

FEATURING: Ministry of Fear (1944), When Strangers Marry (1944), My Name Is Julia Ross (1945), The Seventh Veil (1945), Undercurrent (1946), Lured (1947), The Upturned Glass (1947), Kiss the Blood off My Hands (1948)*, The Sign of the Ram (1948), Woman in Hiding (1950)*, The House on Telegraph Hill (1951), Lightning Strikes Twice (1951)

Celebrate Black History

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The story of Black Americans is, in many ways, the story of America itself. Though the African American experience has long been relegated to the margins of the big screen, a vital cinematic legacy endures thanks to the work of pioneers like Fronza Woods (Fannie’s Film), Kathleen Collins (Losing Ground), Julie Dash (Daughters of the Dust), and Marlon Riggs (Tongues Untied), as well as bracing contemporary voices like Garrett Bradley (America) and Jon-Sesrie Goff (After Sherman). Their stories of revolution, resistance, creativity, community, and everyday endurance offer a multifaceted vision of Black American identity across generations.

FEATURES: Portrait of Jason (1967), Remnants of the Watts Festival (1980), Losing Ground (1982), Say Amen, Somebody (1982), You Got To Move (1985), Tongues Untied (1989), Paris Is Burning (1990), A Place of Rage (1991), Daughters of the Dust (1991), Alma’s Rainbow (1994), The Watermelon Woman (1996), The Final Insult (1997), After Sherman (2022)

SHORTS: Baldwin’s Nigger (1968), Black Panthers (1970), Paul Robeson: Tribute to an Artist (1979), Fannie’s Film (1981), Suzanne, Suzanne (1982), To Be Free (2017), America (2019)

EXCLUSIVE PREMIERES

Unrest

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A singularly arresting, precision-crafted tale of time, radical politics, and burgeoning love unfolds amid the bucolic beauty of a Swiss town in this intellectually and stylistically captivating snapshot of a fascinating historical moment. In Saint-Imier in the 1870s, Josephine (Clara Gostynski), a young factory worker, produces the unrest wheel, the ticking heart of the mechanical watch. Exposed to new ways of organizing money, time, and labor, she gets involved with the local movement of the anarchist watchmakers, where she meets Russian traveler Pyotr Kropotkin (Alexei Evstratov), whose own political interests become entangled with the struggles of the town’s workers.

Amanda

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The boldly assured debut feature from writer-director Carolina Cavalli is a hip, deadpan portrait of a young woman looking for human connection—in all the wrong ways. Born into an upper-class family with a doting mother who foots the bill for her indolent lifestyle, combative twenty-four-year-old Amanda (the magnetic Benedetta Porcaroli) searches for boyfriends but only finds misfits who are repelled by her intensity. She longs for understanding but has never had a friend of her own . . . until she discovers a long-lost childhood bond, spurring a mission to convince another recluse that they are still best friends.

REDISCOVERIES AND RESTORATIONS

Farewell My Concubine

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A long-unavailable landmark of Chinese filmmaking, this passionate, exquisitely shot, Palme d’Or–winning epic spans fifty years—from the early twentieth century to the tumultuous Cultural Revolution—capturing the history of a changing country while revealing the intimate details of a tender, heartrending love story. Cheng Dieyi (Leslie Cheung) and Duan Xiaolou (Zhang Fengyi) grow up enduring the harsh training of the Peking Opera Academy, where they develop complementary talents: Dieyi, with his delicate features, assumes the female roles (since only men could then be opera actors), while Xiaolou plays masculine warlords. Their dramatic identities become real for Dieyi when he falls in love with Xiaolou, who fails to fully reciprocate his affections and marries a courtesan, Juxian (Gong Li), setting the stage for a dangerous, jealousy-filled romantic triangle.

Maurice

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Featuring a documentary on the making of the film and a conversation with the filmmakers

James Ivory’s sumptuously romantic adaptation of E. M. Forster’s posthumously published novel Maurice is a heart-racing story of coming to terms with one’s sexuality and identity in the face of disapproval and misunderstanding. Amid the rigid conformity of pre–World War I English society, Maurice Hall (James Wilby) and Clive Durham (Hugh Grant) find themselves falling in love at Cambridge. At a time when homosexuality is punishable by imprisonment, the two must keep their feelings for each other a complete secret. After Clive abandons his forbidden love and marries a woman, Maurice is left alone to struggle with his identity and self-confidence—until a chance encounter brings about a profound change in his life and outlook.

Maestro

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The origins of New York City’s legendary underground dance-club culture are explored in this kinetic cult documentary—a vivid chronicle of a scene that became an oasis for the city’s queer and Black communities in the 1970s and ’80s. As told by the ordinary people who lived many an ecstatic night on the dance floor, Maestro pays homage to the storied clubs like Paradise Garage, The Loft, and The Gallery as well as trailblazing DJs like Larry Levan, David Mancuso, and Nicky Siano who shaped the sound of dance music for a generation to come. Bursting with passion for its subject, this essential history transmits the full-sensory euphoria of sound, rhythm, and movement.

CRITERION COLLECTION EDITIONS

Love Affair (Leo McCarey, 1939)

Criterion Collection Edition #1114

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Golden-age Hollywood’s humanist master Leo McCarey brings his graceful touch and relaxed naturalism to this sublime romance, one of cinema’s most intoxicating tear-wringers.

SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: An interview with critic Farran Smith Nehme, two radio adaptations of the film, two silent shorts directed by McCarey, and more.

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (Luis Buñuel, 1972)

Criterion Collection Edition #102

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One of Luis Buñuel’s most gleeful assaults on the values of the ruling class sends a sextet of would-be diners through a maze of desire deferred, frustrated, and interrupted.

SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES: Documentaries on Buñuel and two television programs on the making of the film.

DIRECTOR SPOTLIGHTS

Directed by Shirley Clarke

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Experimental icon Shirley Clarke synthesized jazz, modern dance, and abstract expressionism into a dynamic vérité style that put her at the forefront of the emergent American independent film scene of the fifties and sixties. Beginning her artistic career as a dancer, she brought a choreographer’s feeling for rhythm and movement to early dance films like Dance in the Sun and Bullfight and to kinetic city symphonies like Bridges-Go-Round and the Academy Award–nominated documentary Skyscraper. Though she directed only a handful of features—including the controversial beatnik bombshell The Connection and the nonfiction queer-cinema classic Portrait of Jason—they stand as taboo-busting landmarks of the American underground that pointed the way toward a radical counter-cinema.

FEATURES: The Connection (1961), Portrait of Jason (1967), Ornette: Made in America (1985)

SHORTS: Dance in the Sun (1953), In Paris Parks (1954), Bullfight (1955), A Moment in Love (1956), Brussels Film Loops/Gestures/World Kitchen (1957), Bridges-Go-Round 1 (1958), Bridges-Go-Round 2 (1958), A Scary Time (1960), Skyscraper (1960), Robert Frost: A Lover’s Quarrel with the World (1963), Butterfly (1967), 24 Frames Per Second (1977), Four Journeys into Mystic Time: Initiation (1978), Four Journeys into Mystic Time: Mysterium (1978), Four Journeys into Mystic Time: One-Two-Three (1978), Four Journeys into Mystic Time: Trans (1978), Savage/Love (1981), Tongues (1982)

COMING MARCH 1: A Visual Diary (1980)

Three by Jonathan Glazer

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An advertising and music-video visionary turned one of the boldest auteurs of the twenty-first century, Jonathan Glazer has directed just four feature films (including, most recently, the acclaimed The Zone of Interest) in twenty-three years, but each is the work of a major artist. His coolly hypnotic visual style, sense of dark surrealism, and provocative themes are on display in his first two features—the startling crime thriller Sexy Beast and the audacious psychological drama Birth—as well as the nightmarish allegorical short The Fall.

FEATURES: Sexy Beast (2000), Birth (2004)

SHORTS: The Fall (2019)

Directed by the Safdie Brothers

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The undisputed kings of kinetic, adrenaline-rush cinema that unfolds at the heart-stopping pace of a New York minute, Josh and Benny Safdie have been keeping audiences on the edge of their seats (and on the verge of a panic attack) for over a decade with whirlwind character studies like Uncut Gems, Good Time, and Heaven Knows What. Often casting professional and nonprofessional actors alongside each other, the Safdies capture the pulse of the city with thrilling immediacy and compassionate irony.

FEATURES: Daddy Longlegs (2009), Lenny Cooke (2013), Heaven Knows What (2014), Good Time (2017)

SHORTS: John’s Gone (2010), The Black Balloon (2012)

AMERICAN INDEPENDENTS

Good Time

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Featuring The Universe Is Out There: Josh & Benny Safdie, a documentary portrait of the filmmakers

Robert Pattinson embarks on a twisted odyssey through New York’s underworld as a two-bit criminal trying to get his brother out of jail in this hypnotic thriller from Uncut Gems masterminds Josh and Benny Safdie.

Greta Gerwig costars in this ripe-for-rediscovery portrait of toxic friendship, in which three twentysomethings descend into a frighteningly relatable spiral of selfishness, simmering anger, and passive aggression.

Drugstore Cowboy

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One of the most honest films ever made about addiction, Gus Van Sant’s coolly lyrical portrait of life on the margins of 1970s America bristles with moments of woozy beauty and deadpan humor.

INTERNATIONAL CLASSICS

Hong Kong Hits

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Hong Kong is home to one of the world’s most exciting pop-filmmaking traditions—and there’s no bigger event in its box-office calendar than Lunar New Year, typically reserved for the industry’s most crowd-pleasing releases. These genre-blending touchstones bring audiences together for an escape into romance, comedy, fantasy, and action, making them Asia’s answer to the summer blockbuster. Celebrate this year’s holiday with these favorites from some of Hong Kong’s biggest stars, including Jackie Chan (Police Story), Sammo Hung (My Lucky Stars), and Michelle Yeoh (The Heroic Trio).

FEATURING: My Lucky Stars (1985), Police Story (1985), Police Story 2 (1988), The Eagle Shooting Heroes (1993), The Heroic Trio (1993), Executioners (1993), Chinese Odyssey 2002 (2002), Infernal Affairs (2002)

Your Name.

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Mitsuha and Taki are complete strangers living separate lives until they suddenly switch places. Mitsuha wakes up in Taki’s body, and he in hers. This occurrence happens randomly, and they must adjust their lives around each other. Yet, somehow, it works. They build a connection by leaving notes for one another until they wish to finally meet. But something stronger than distance may keep them apart.

Presented by Crunchyroll

TRUE STORIES

Grizzly Man

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Werner Herzog’s gripping inquiry into obsession and the fragile relationship between man and nature chronicles one of the most extreme—and ultimately tragic—experiments in human-animal cohabitation ever attempted.

MUSIC FILMS

Radical Dreams, Underground Sounds: 13 Films Presented by Dweller

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Founded in 2019, the Dweller festival celebrates the Black roots of electronic dance music, spotlighting a lineage of trailblazing musicians, producers, and DJs who created the sound that spread to clubs across the world and amplifying the contemporary artists who carry on their legacy. This diverse selection of narrative, documentary, and experimental works, curated in collaboration with Dweller, contains films that explore Black musical technology and imagination, and salute the dance floor as a site of Black joy, protest, personal transformation, and ecstatic communal liberation.

FEATURES: The Last Angel of History (1996), Maestro (2003), Exhibitionist—Purpose Maker Mix (2004), Shakedown (2018), Bring Down the Walls (2020)

SHORTS: Songs for Earth & Folk (2013), I Held the Truth in My Hands (2020), Pivot (2020), Lunar New Year (2021), MOSQUITO: The Movie (2022), Hyperfate (2023), Pacific Club (2023), Trial Period (2023)

24 Hour Party People

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Steve Coogan stars in an uproarious tour through the Manchester musical scene that gave the world Joy Division, New Order, and Happy Mondays.

SHORTS

Valentine’s Shorts

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Get in the mood for love with a Valentine’s bouquet of shorts that celebrate passionate human connection in its many forms. Featuring gems from past masters like John Hubley (Tender Game), Pierre Etaix (Happy Anniversary), and Shirley Clarke (Savage/Love) as well as insightful contemporary looks at romance across the spectrum of sexuality and gender (Snow Canon, Dirty, Masquerade), these cinematic bonbons capture the experience of love at its sweetest, sexiest, maddest, messiest, and most human.

FEATURING: Sunlight (1957), Tender Game (1958), Happy Anniversary (1962), Plaisir d’amour en Iran (1976), Savage/Love (1981), The Short and Curlies (1987), Snow Canon (2011), I Love You So Much (2014), Bayard & Me (2017), The Field (2018), Dirty (2020), Masquerade (2021)

ENCORES

Back by Popular Demand

Don’t miss these viewer favorites, returning to the Channel in January!

FEATURING: Peeping Tom (1960), Husbands (1970), The Bedroom Window (1987), The Limey (1999)

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